The 8 books of the week for select readers – The Pleasure of Reading

NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 2023

A construction site teacher of Jon Fosse and one of his novels dearest A moving meditation on family, he marriage, the loss and he destination.

“TheFosse’s work is an enigma that gives life and hope to who reads it.Illuminate the soul human as only do the chosen.” Manuel Vilas

Alone in her old house on the Norwegian coast, Signe looks out the window and sees herself twenty years ago, sitting in front of the same window, waiting for the return of her husband, Asle, during a terrible afternoon at the end of November in the one where he got into his rowboat never to return. In a kind of kaleidoscope, the images of that tragic day are superimposed on visions of the past and their life together, but also with memories that span five generations of a family clan and their constant fight against the harsh nature that surrounds them, until they reach to Ales, Asle’s great-great-grandmother.

In Jon Fosse’s vivid, hallucinatory prose, all of these moments inhabit the same space, and ghosts from the past collide with the living. Ales next to the bonfire is a visionary masterpiece, a haunting exploration of love and loss that is among the most beautiful meditations on marriage and human destiny.

The noise of time

‘The Noise of Time’ – a book that Osip Mandelstam began writing in the autumn of 1923 in Crimea and continued in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, until its publication two years later – covers the time period that corresponds to the author’s childhood and adolescence. In it, on the one hand, we find family memories, including Mandelstam’s complex relationship with Judaism; and on the other, life in Saint Petersburg, the then administrative capital of the tsarist empire to which the family moved in 1897. Many of its pages are dedicated to this city, whose geometry will decisively mark the imagination of the future poet, as well as to capture the unresolved tension between time and memory in the moment before the Revolution that will break all compasses. Straddling two centuries that are also two worlds, the young Mandelstam confesses himself hostile to epics. We are not, despite appearances, facing a nostalgic autobiography. The author hardly analyzes himself, nor is he interested in appealing to the charm of a bygone era, happier than the difficult years in which he wrote and published these pages. He talks about his childhood and family environment, the books that shaped him, school, some decisive encounters and experiences, but always with an ironic distance. Sometimes it seems like the story of the germination of his own language, the one that Mandelstam will develop when he begins to write verses, curiously the year in which the memories gathered here end.

national landscape

In El Álamo, a former colonization town that Franco’s regime invented to develop its agrarian policy, a group of squatters have settled. The narrator of this novel is there when an apparition appears to him.

That appearance and its message give rise to an improbable road trip between a young man and his three aunts, La Mayor, La Mediana and La Lady Di, towards the reunion of a family fragmented by inheritance, agitated by a new sentimental will.

A trip back to the place where their ancestors left to recover, like archaeologists on earth, family history.

EVERYTHING WAS FOREVER UNTIL IT CEASED TO EXIST

What personal impact did the fall of socialism have on the Soviets, what reactions did it provoke in ordinary people to what seemed indestructible? How was this collapse reflected in the art, humor and daily life of a population that lived trapped in the communist dream? Yurchak exposes the profound transformations that the Soviet Union suffered during the throes of perestroika and, through a detailed analysis of jokes, satires, spectacles and popular customs typical of that decisive moment, gives an account of the particular way in which the Soviets faced the traumatic changes: suspending the unbreakable faith they had in the eternity of socialism and opening new horizons that they did not yet understand.

Atomic heart mother

An exciting biographical novel that covers an entire century based on family memory.

In 1967, shortly before the birth of Agustín Fernández Mallo, his father, a man born in a small town in León, a veterinarian by profession and a firm believer in science and progress, embarked on a pioneering trip through the United States with the aim of bringing about twenty cows on a plane to Galicia. Almost half a century later, it will be the writer who makes his own journey through American lands, trying to reconstruct the steps of his mother before she loses her memory of him.
Atomic heart mother It covers a century of Spanish History through a network of family stories and legends, of anonymous people who have lived through the civil war, the post-war period, democracy and the turn of the century. As the narrator states, “life writes the fiction that we will never dare to write.”
We are facing the most impressive novel by the best Agustín Fernández Mallo, his most personal and, at the same time, most universal book, a narrative that addresses the human condition in its entirety and that proposes to understand death not as the end of a path, but as a beginning, the last life lesson of a loved one.

anything small

A fast-paced story of spies in a tax haven.

In 1979, in Dragonera, an Atlantic island that was a British colony and is now a small country decisive for its strategic position and for being a cosmopolitan tax haven, Ginés Loyola directs the Documentation Center, which they call Casa Desolada, for the services national intelligence. In his four-person team, each person has their role in the routine of reports and meetings. Everything will be shaken the day the candidate for the country’s presidency is shot, and what is worse for them, when it is discovered that someone made compromising information disappear from their files. But even in the most calculated and premeditated actions the human factor intervenes, and any small thing can ruin our plans. Spy novel, action novel, anything small participate in the atmospheres and intrigues of Graham Greene’s best stories, to which Rafael Reig adds his trademark irony and brilliance of style.

Gadir

AN ORIGINAL AND DISTURBING BLACK NOVEL THAT REVEALS A DARK SIDE OF SPAIN, BY AN AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR PRAISED BY CARLOS ZANÓN AND EDURNE PORTELA

«Cerrada has woven a striking and bold work […], brilliant in its ability to generate fascination; and, why not, also insomnia: that of those who allow themselves to be awakened by literary courage.
Ricard Ruiz, The reason

Trapped in the memory of Sandrine, with no way out or future, Suso Corbacho does not have many options. Despite being a lawyer, he barely survives in Ceuta with the money he receives from his father. Therefore, when he asks him to meet with Zallas, a man of dubious reputation involved in shady business, he, despite himself, cannot refuse. On the other hand, the Caliph, a representative of artists to whom Suso owes three thousand euros, orders him to go in search of Pespá, a desperate man, victim of an extortion related to some compromising photos taken decades ago in the well-known Cadiz venue Gadir. Unexpectedly, something terrible happens before they say goodbye. Who could be behind everything?

At every step in a search that takes place in the most sordid places of Cádiz, at every encounter and every death, a new revelation surprises Suso—and with him the reader—on the path to a truth for which he may not be prepared. . Full of twists, disturbing, with a rhythm that doesn’t let up and an unforgettable protagonist, Gadir is a thriller that reflects a dark side of Spain, the new novel by an award-winning author praised by critics thanks to her “suggestive and groundbreaking work.”

The best of all possible worlds

The life of this famous optimist is the story of a century brimming with ideas and innovations that resonate in surprising ways with the world today.

«The biography of Leibniz for our time. It is difficult to do justice to such a rich spirit, but Kempe does it: seven chosen days that represent the whole, seven facets of a grandiose and contradictory picture.
Daniel Kehlmann

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) He occupies a special place among the great thinkers of the 17th century. This unclassifiable genius stubbornly refused to limit himself to a single discipline: philosopher, inventor, mathematician, traveler, historian and novelist, he had a fascinating personality and built an impressive network of contacts. Known for his optimism, he insisted on the possibility of improving the world even when everything seemed bleak. In seventy years of unbridled activity, he revolutionized mathematics, outlined countless machines and technical innovations, and developed a unique metaphysical system.

Michael Kempe, one of the greatest experts on Leibniz and a great storyteller, has chosen seven key days in the philosopher’s overflowing life, dates that marked a turning point in his career and his work. One morning in the autumn of 1675, in Paris, his pen traced a new mathematical sign, that of the integral, which revolutionized mathematics and gave birth to differential calculus, indispensable for engineers, economists and epidemiologists; In 1696 Leibniz was conversing at the court of Hanover with the great lady of the princely house of Herrenhausen, Sophie, about consolation in philosophy; In April 1703, in Berlin, he laid the foundations of the binary system that would become the basis of computing. Attentive to small curious or exciting details, Kempe skillfully connects them with the development of Leibniz’s thought and shows us to what extent beneath his wig and frock coat was a decidedly modern thinker (a far cry from his Voltairean portrait in Candide, where he appears as a rigid rationalist lost in the world of ideas). At the center of cultural life at the dawn of the Enlightenment, he exchanged correspondence with all the princes and scholars of Europe, and his influence on our present is undeniable.

 
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